The people's voice of reason

University of Alabama Dance Marathon

The University of Alabama Dance Marathon raises $248,796.19 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Children’s of Alabama Birmingham

UADM exists to provide financial and emotional assistance to the children and families undergoing treatment at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Children’s of Alabama, in Birmingham, AL. Dance Marathon, the main event of UADM, is a nationwide movement, involving college and high school students at over 150 schools across the nation who raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network hospital in their community. UADM is entirely student-run. It has become a tradition on campus and in the community. These students spend a year learning invaluable leadership and social skills while raising funds in a variety of ways. They interact with Children’s Hospital patients and families. The year culminates with a 13.1 hour long event where the students stay on their feet through dancing, games and entertainment in order to celebrate the total amount raised that year. Why stay on your feet for that long? To quote the first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon’s mission statement: “We dance for those who can’t.”

UADM first joined Children’s Miracle Network in 2011 in a partnership to support Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL. In their first year, UADM was able to raise $14,952.18.

The Main Event is a celebration of life that is yet to be lived by the next generation. It’s a celebration of victories, both big and small, enabling kids to move forward to reach their full potential. It’s a celebration of the blood, sweat, and tears that each Miracle Family, the hospital, and UADM puts into one common goal: eradicating childhood illness. We dance for a cause, we dance for a cure, and most importantly, we dance…For The Kids (FTK). ~

2018: $341,000.18 ~ 2019: $248,796.19

What is Dance Marathon?

“movement uniting college, university and high school students across North America. Students involved in a campus’ dance marathon organization spend a year gaining leadership, teamwork, and nonprofit business experience while raising funds and awareness for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. This year culminates with an 8-40 hour event (the dance marathon) on each campus where students get to meet patient families who are treated at their local hospital, participate in games and dancing, enjoy entertainment, and reveal their annual fundraising total.”

400+ dance marathon programs ~ 200,000 student participants ~ 11 campuses raising over $1 million annually

The Dance Marathon was started in 1991 at Indiana University by students that wanted to make a difference. One of the students, Ryan White, passed away from HIV/ AIDS and so dance marathon was created in memory of him. This movement is now national and accumulating millions of dollars every year for different Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) around the United States. Each organization is completely student-run and all proceeds go directly to their local CMNH.

23 families are currently registered as a Miracle Family for The University of Alabama’s Dance Marathon. These children range from two-years-old to twenty-two years old. Many people automatically assume all the children have had cancer. That statement is false. Our beautiful Miracle Children have suffered and overcame several different diagnoses. Some children were diagnosed at Children’s of Alabama with a mental disability, others had to receive organ transplants, others suffered accidents. Yes, some children have suffered from cancer and gloriously persevered, but not all. UADM raises money for Children’s of Alabama and the future generations to come. UADM raises money for the kids and we dance for the kids that cannot. It is our responsibility to do what matters and fight for the next generation.

February 23, 2019 was a wonderful day for all!

Elizabeth’s Why: Every person involved with UADM has a ‘why’. Their own, individualized reason they are a part of the organization and advocate for the hospitalized children. My personal ‘why’ begins with my brother. Throughout my life, my older brother has been hospitalized frequently for asthma, GURD syndrome, acid reflux, surgeries, chronic migraines, chronic sinus infections and more. The hospital quickly became a place I went after school, ate dinner, finished homework at and sometimes slept. I have experienced, through my brother, the pain and suffering that children face daily in the hospital. I quickly came to the realization that it was my

responsibility to help as much as I could.

When I was younger, the help I offered was direct to my brother, always remembering to bring his drumsticks so he was not bored in the hospital while I was at school. This urge and need to help quickly grew. My brother still battles daily with his medical needs and remedies these needs through medicine but no one would ever know. Not once did he stop battling or trying. He will forever remain to be my role model to push through the hard because the good is waiting. He is now part of the dance marathon team at Florida State University to raise money for CMNH and give hope to children in need of that light. He is my ‘why’ on how I found UADM and continually strive to raise money for the kids so more miracles can be made. Lastly, even though my original ‘why’ is my brother, my ‘why’ keeps growing as I create friendships and connections with the beautiful Miracle Families and UADM staff. I will continue to Do What Matters and fight for the next generation to come.

Kaeli’s Why: Last year when I decided to join the University of Alabama Dance Marathon (UADM), my main reason for joining was to make friends here at school. I did not realize how much this organization would come to mean to me. A year later I can now say that is no longer why I will be staying with this amazing organization, it’s because of families like the Walkers who have shown me what perseverance and strength that they have for going through what they go through. Knowing that UADM can help provide families going through hard times a little bit of comfort or reassurance is a great feeling. Seeing everyone come together for such an amazing cause like UADM is what makes me believe that one day, we will be able to find a cure for all those being treated so they can dance with us.

Meeting Grant has been such a great blessing in my life this year because seeing the determination that he has, and the pure joy that he has to live every day makes me want to live every day like Grant too, nothing holding me back. Seeing him grow and reach new milestones has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I cannot wait to see what else Grant is going to achieve.

I can truly say, Grant, is now my WHY for being involved in UADM. At first, it was for a selfish reason, and now it is so I can see him grow up and continue making everyone's day just a little bit better.

-Kaeli Gordon, University of Alabama, March 2019.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 04/20/2024 08:07